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Meet the Board

The Upper Midwest Translators and Interpreters Association (UMTIA) is run completely by volunteers who contribute many hours of time and effort while serving on the executive board. The Executive Board is in charge of the governance, finances and decision making regarding the direction of the organization.

The Executive Board consists of up to twelve members who serve two year terms. Each has a specific office to fulfill, such as secretary, or treasurer or membership director or member at large, while representing the best interests of UMTIA members and running the association.

On this page, you can find out more about the volunteers that make up the leadership team. Members are welcome to join the Executive Board for their monthly meeting. If you’d like to attend, please email [email protected].

 

Isabel Montañez, President, 2018-2019 Term

Isabel Montañez

Isabel Montañez

Isabel Montañez is from Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She graduated from the Interpreting/Translation Program University of Minnesota in 2009. She joined UMTIA right after graduation and became a member of the Executive Board. Isabel worked as a Medical Lab Technician for 20 years and was a freelancer with several interpreting agencies. In 2012, Isabel joined the Hennepin County Medical Center Interpreting Team full-time. Isabel continues serving the interpreting profession with UMTIA and hopes to make every interpreter part of UMTIA. Isabel is CCHI Spanish Certified, on the MN Legal Roster and an ATA Member.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

When I was taking my courses at the University of Minnesota for the interpreting certificate, I had an outstanding instructor, and she talked about being a member of UMTIA. She told me it was a great way to get to know other professionals, and it would give me an opportunity to expand my education. She was the reason I became a member. UMTIA is the only organization for interpreters in the Midwest. I’m very satisfied with UMTIA mainly because it’s all about continuing education.

Why I Joined the Board

In 2010 I was involved with UMTIA’s conference and I had firsthand knowledge of what it takes to put together a very important event for our profession. I learned that there is so much to give of myself to make my profession a full success. I accepted the opportunity to join the Board. It has been an outstanding experience, and most of all, I have met marvelous professionals.

 

Claudia Giannini, Vice President, 2017-2018 Term

Claudia Giannini

Claudia has an undergraduate degree in Translation and Interpreting and a graduate degree in Hispanic Linguistics. She has more than two decades of experience working as a translator. She currently teaches translation courses at the University of Minnesota, as well as Spanish, Linguistics, and Hispanic culture at Macalester College. Claudia has held several positions in UMTIA’s Board since 2007.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I joined UMTIA as soon as I found out it existed — I know that an association like this one can contribute to the professional life of each and every translator and interpreter. The more members we have, the stronger we’ll be and the easier it will be to implement positive changes for all.  After a few years of being a member, I decided to join the Board, not only because I am interested in the work UMTIA does, but also because I am keenly aware that previous Board members have worked very hard for UMTIA to become a reality and I felt a responsibility for the association. I encourage all professional interpreters and translators in our area to consider becoming part of our Board or one of our committees at some point in their careers, as this is one of the most effective ways of improving our professions.

 

David Coats, Treasurer, 2017-2018 Term

David Coats

David Coats

David Coats has been a freelance translator since 1986, and is ATA-certified for German into English. Now retired from the field of psychotherapy, he worked for 37 years as a psychotherapist in public and private practice; including 18 years as a Social Worker in the field of civil commitments, working closely with the Probate Court and the medical system. Prior to obtaining his Master’s in Social Work, he studied engineering and sociology. He specializes in translation of highly technical material and patents, as well as medical and legal material.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I had been a member of UMTIA since its creation. At the 2008 annual meeting, nobody was a candidate for the position of Treasurer. I am quite detail-oriented, and felt that I could do the job, as I had used QuickBooks for our own translation business, and believed it would be applicable to UMTIA’s bookkeeping needs. I thus volunteered for the position, and have been doing it ever since. 

 

Eve MacLeish, Membership Director, 2018-2019 Term

Eve MacLeish

Eve MacLeish has worked as a medical interpreter since 2004, and at Childrens Hospitals & Clinics of MN since 2006. She completed the University of Minnesota’s TrIn certificate program in 2006. Eve produces a radio program of Latin music and culture, Corazon Latino, every Friday from 2-4 pm on KFAI Community Radio. She formerly resided in Merida, Venezuela, with her bicultural family for nearly 14 years.

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Why I Joined the Board

I decided to join the UMTIA board to expand my horizons and be continually reminded of how important this organization is for our community of interpreters and translators. Yes, my arm was twisted, and I am happy to be here developing my role as membership director. I look forward to being in communication with our membership at UMTIA and advancing the profession with our activities together with our amazing board of directors!

 

Aida Azzazi, Secretary, 2017-2018 Term

Aida Azzazi

Aida Azzazi

Aida Azzazi has worked as an interpreter in education for thirteen years in Minneapolis and two years in Robbinsdale. She is a full time Spanish Interpreter/Translator for the Minneapolis Public Schools District in the Special Education English Language Learners Department. She services 20 schools that range from public schools, private schools, elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. She is a recent UMTIA scholarship recipient and will complete the Program in Translation and Interpreting at the University of Minnesota-Medical track in 2017.  In addition, she holds a BFA in Design from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I joined the UMTIA board because I want to continue to learn and grow as an Interpreter/Translator. I admire the work that UMTIA does and enjoy meeting and connecting with others in the field to nurture and build a sense of community.

 

Elisa Gustafson, Member-at-Large, 2018-2019 Term

Elisa Gustafson

Elisa Gustafson

Elisa Gustafson is a native of Argentina, where she completed a degree in agronomy. She is an ATA certified translator, a CCHI certified medical interpreter, and a conference interpreter. She’s been on the UMTIA board since 2007, as membership director, member at large, secretary and president.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

When I arrived in the USA in 2001 and started a whole new career, I benefited from the events that UMTIA organized. It was a brand new organization in 2002. The conferences and workshops introduced me to other colleagues, and also to the issues that the profession was dealing with. And it seemed to me that joining a professional association was also important for my professional development here.

Why I Joined the Board

When I started working as an interpreter here in the USA, the field was totally unregulated and there was no system to verify use of interpreters or training of interpreters or quality of the interpretation. Much has been accomplished since that time thanks to the efforts of many people in many different fields, but there is still much to be done. I feel that UMTIA is a way in which I can contribute to improving the field for all of us, interpreters, translators and clients. UMTIA also allows me to use skills that I can’t apply in other areas of my work. It allows me opportunities to interact with other people that are involved in this field. It allows me to be “where the action is”.  Being on the board has many benefits! If you’d like to know more about it, please feel free to contact me!

 

Patricia Contag, Member-at-Large, 2018-2019 Term

Patricia Contag

Patricia Contag

I was born in Quito, Ecuador, where I obtained a degree in English, and worked as a schoolteacher and private tutor. Currently, I am certified by the American Translators Association as an English-Spanish translator and by the Commission for Healthcare Interpreters as medical interpreter. For the last 15 years, I’ve worked for Mayo Clinic both on-site and off-campus.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I returned to Minnesota last winter, after living in Maryland for several years. Upon settling in Minneapolis, one of the first things I did was join UMTIA. I think UMTIA does an excellent work at offering continued education to interpreters and translators. It is an honor for me to be a Member at Large and assist the board.

 

Maria Gadea, Member-at-Large, 2018-2019 Term

Maria Gadea is native of France, but studied in both France and Spain, and obtained her BAA in Accounting and Management in Puerto Rico. She fell in love with interpreting, especially medical interpreting, in 1998, and has been working as a health care interpreter since then.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

 

 

 

Mohamud Aden, Member-at-Large, 2018-2019 Term

Mohamud Aden

Mohamud Aden

Mohamud Aden has been working as a generalist Somali interpreter/translator over 15 years, both as staff and as a freelancer. Currently, he is a casual translator and interpreter for Saint Paul School District. Besides being a translator and an interpreter, he also works as a Somali language/culture consultant and Somali testing content collector. Mohamud is a part-time adjunct faculty and a teaching specialist/grader for the Translation & Interpreting (TRIN) Programs at the University of Minnesota and Century College. His academic backgrounds include TRIN Certificates in medical and special education interpreting from U of M, a BA in Liberal Arts, with a focus on language and the helping professions from Metropolitan State University, and an MA in Literacy Education from Hamline University.

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Why I Joined UMTIA

I have been an active UMTIA member since 2004, both as a normal member and as an executive board member. The reason I joined UMTIA was both accidental and intentional. Accidental, because one of the faculty members at the U of M Translation and Interpreting Program invited me to join. But also intentional, because as I graduated from the TRIN Program in 2003, I knew that I needed to have a professional network to rely on in order to find employment opportunities and to advance my TRIN skills. As I was coming to the workshops and conferences for a few years, I was inspired by the amount of voluntary work that the board and event volunteers had been doing. I asked myself why was I a free rider? I eventually felt guilty not to join the board and not to contribute, so, I became a board member in February 2011 and served in two different positions so far. Looking back all these years now, I don’t regret one second about my involvement. I believe the board duties offer a lot of learning opportunities, insights and deep knowledge about the current trends of the TRIN profession in general.

 

 


For a list of previous board members, see our Board Member History.

 

Ideas about membership?

Do you have thoughts about how membership could be improved? We want to know.

Please email us at [email protected].

Minutes & Agendas

Keep track of the work the executive committee is doing on your behalf. Read past meeting minutes and agendas. You may also download our bylaws and policies (PDF).

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